When Steven Alan opened doors to his eponymous first store in 1994, he had no idea where the journey would take him. At the time he was exclusively selling other designers. In 2000, he launched his private label, but it wasn’t until 2007 he’d assembled a complete collection and 2010 when the line began having presentations and shows. Now, in 2013, he’s close to celebrating the brand’s 20th anniversary and dispatching stores across the country. Dallas’ Knox location opened just last month. ShopTalk intern Lauren Adams stole a few minutes of his time to chat about his new Dallas storefront.
Lauren Adams: You recently wrapped up Fashion Week. How did it go?
Steven Alan: Well, in my instance, it was a little bit crazy, because on top of having my show on the 10th, I also had a baby on the 10th. The presentation that we had was women’s only, and that’s the first time we ever did that. We usually have men’s and women’s showing together. We really wanted to be more introspective this season, in terms of what we’re doing and what’s missing in the closet of our customer. The music was was ’80s post-punk, kind of new wave/no wave, that sort of thing. We were really inspired to make bigger silhouettes that actually make you feel smaller. In terms of like voluminous shapes, but that draped really beautifully, so every woman can feel comfortable wearing it.
Lauren: What kind of woman do you design for?
Steven: Starting out as a New York brand, we’re always thinking about New York and that New York sensibility, but that New York sensibility, I think, is in Dallas. It’s in San Francisco, it’s in L.A., it’s just really a creative person’s sort of ticket. It’s someone who doesn’t really just want to buy big brands, because I feel like a lot of stores now are selling a lot of the same brands. What we design and what we also sell and curate here is really a mix of smaller specialty brands.
Lauren: So why on Knox Street in Dallas?
Steven: My partner is actually based here, and so I was coming here, and when I visited him the first time, I went to see all these different neighborhoods. Where we are here [in the current store location], I said, “Well, if we open, that’s where I want to be.” It was a street location, it wasn’t a mall-based store. It’s a place where people can go and have lunch, walk around, and shop. I just think that there’s a good energy here.
Lauren: Why is Dallas a good fit for your aesthetic?
Steven: I think it’s a casual city. It’s not an uptight town, and that’s really what we’re about. I grew up in New York and I went to college in California, and I feel like our aesthetic is very much a sort of laid-back, New York or casual California aesthetic, so I think that it works well here. It’s a seasonal place, too, which not a lot of places are. It certainly gets very hot, but it also gets cold–not New york cold–but surprisingly cold, and so that for me is exciting, because then there’s always a reason to have a scarf or hat, because we make so many fun accessories.
Lauren: What are things that would never be found in your closet?
Steven: I don’t really wear logos. I don’t have anything that’s a logo product, so that’s one thing that you would never find. Polyester would be another thing that you wouldn’t find.
Lauren: What else?
Steven: August it will be 20 years, so we’re about to hit our 20 year anniversary. I love what I do. It’s always, ‘How can we be better?’ I know it’s good, but we want to make it better. I think that that’s an important thing, for me anyway, because it makes it fun. You’re always challenging yourself. In the beginning I don’t think I really conceived of it in terms of being a fashion designer, I really conceived of it as “I just want to have these great stores, and have amazing products, and find them, and travel around the world,” and that was really a simple thing.